Several studies have suggested that exposure to DDT may be related to changes in thyroid hormone levels in animals and humans, even though results across studies are inconsistent. The aim of this study was to assess the association between exposure to p,p‘-DDE (a stable metabolite of DDT) and serum levels of thyroid hormones in floriculture workers. A longitudinal study was conducted on 136 male subjects from the States of Mexico and Morelos, Mexico, who were occupationally exposed to pesticides, during agricultural periods of high (rainy season) and low (dry season) levels of pesticide application. Using a structured questionnaire, a survey was carried out on socio-demographic characteristics, anthropometry, clinical history, alcohol and tobacco consumption, residential chemical exposure, and occupational history. Blood and urine samples were collected to determine serum levels of TSH, total T3, total T4, and p,p‘-DDE, and metabolites of organophosphate pesticides (OP), respectively. The analysis of the associations between p,p‘-DDE levels and thyroid hormone profile adjusting by potential confounding variables including urinary OP metabolites was carried out using multivariate generalized estimating equation (GEE) models.
Our results showed that the geometric means of p,p‘-DDE levels were 6.17 ng/ml and 4.71 ng/ml in the rainy and dry seasons, respectively. We observed positive associations between the serum levels of p,p‘-DDE and those of total T3 (β=0.01, 95% CI: −0.009, 0.03), and total T4 (β=0.08, 95% CI:0.03, 0.14) and negative but no significant changes in TSH in male floricultural workers, supporting the hypothesis that acts as thyroid disruptor in humans.